Berlin gets `Don 2` trail, thanks to `sexy ambassador`
Mumbai: You can relive the thrills of `Don 2` by retracing the trail left by Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan during the shooting of the sleek actioner here. And this new tour in Berlin, one of Europe`s top destinations, has earned the actor the title of `sexy ambassador` for the city.
This is one of the surprises that await SRK fans when they flock here Feb 11 to watch `Don 2: The King Is Back` in the company of the man himself.
Berlin is already one of the three top destinations in Europe after London and Paris and the city is said to have become increasingly popular with Indian tourists after Shah Rukh spent 50 days in the German capital along with a crew of 70 people in 2010 to shoot for `Don 2 - The King Is Back`.
Since then, the number of Indian visitors to the German capital increased by 42.8 percent. Kirsten Niehuus, managing director, Medienboard, the Berlin offices responsible for funding films, finds Shah Rukh "a sexy ambassador" for the city.
"After this film, many Indian tourists will want to discover the city on the track of `Don 2`," says Niehuus.
So in a special tour titled - `On the Trail of Don 2` - fans will walk the German capital in the footsteps of Don, the character played by Shah Rukh in the film.
Fans will be armed with a map marked by locations where "Don 2" was shot, including the swanky Mandala Hotel on Potsdamer Platz. Here Shah Rukh had special permission to smoke in room number 1107 in a city where smoking is banned in all public places.
Those not inclined to walk can drive in open air tourist buses.
Countless Shah Rukh fans from different parts of Europe are expected at the Berlinale, the 10-day film fest that opens in the city Feb 9 to get another glimpse on the red carpet of the Bollywood actor.
In anticipation, city authorities are wiping away the last speck of dust at the actual locations where "Don 2" was shot, including the historic Brandenburg Gate, the Berlin Cathedral, State Opera House, the Olympic Stadium and the high rise hotel on Alexanderplatz from where a Shah Rukh double is shown taking that breathtaking plunge.
The idea of Bollywood in Berlin follows Hollywood in Berlin, an older city tour that has already taken countless visitors to sights where both modern and classic films starring Hollywood divas like Marlene Dietrich and Liza Minnelli were shot.
`On the Trail of Don 2` is the first tour organised in the city after the German capital featured as an integral part of the narrative.
"We wait for spring to arrive...when Indian tourists are expected in larger numbers in Berlin," Nina Zantout, supervisor of the `Don 2` trail at the tourism offices of Visit Berlin, told media reporters.
The love affair between `Don 2` and Berlin is mutual. While filming in the German capital, Shah Rukh had celebrated his 45th birthday Nov 2 last year and had invited wife Gauri and two children to join him for the party.
Once the shoot of `Don 2` was over, Shah Rukh wrote in the Golden Book at the city`s imposing Town Hall that he loved Berlin like a second home now. He thanked the city for making all of them feel as if they were in their own home.
This will be SRK`s third visit to the Berlinale. Shah Rukh first attended the film festival in 2008 with `Om Shanti Om` and in 2010 with `My Name Is Khan`. This time round he will spend only one day in Berlin, addressing the media and attending the premier of `Don 2`.
A repeat screening of `Don 2` is also scheduled after which there will be the film`s release in German cinemas on Feb 16.
Hrithik Roshan, Priyanka Chopra and Farhan Akhtar, the director of `Don 2`, are expected in Berlin as well.